Meeting will discuss flood threat response

Flooding in Morpeth last week.
Flooding in Morpeth last week.

Residents can find out more about the response to flood warnings and alerts last week in Morpeth Town Hall this evening.

Representatives from the Environment Agency will be attending the meeting of Northumberland County Council’s central area committee.

They will tell local councillors and members of the public exactly how it handled the situation in Morpeth and the rest of the central area, including Ponteland, and discuss any issues arising.

Water from the River Wansbeck went over its banks on the evening of Tuesday, January 5 and the car park at the Morpeth Riverside Leisure Centre was flooded.

Abbey Mills, East Mill and Oldgate were among the other locations affected, with Oldgate Bridge and the Chantry footbridge closed as a precautionary measure.

But the upstream dam on the Mitford Estate came into operation to prevent flooding at dozens of properties by the river and flood gates at High Stanners were closed.

They were also closed in the early hours of January 5 as the river level rose, but were opened again just after 11am on the same day when it went down. In addition, the heavy rain meant firefighters were required to clear stretches of Bennett’s Walk and Mitford Road by pumping water back into the river.

The meeting will start at 6pm.

Morpeth Town Council has set up a working group to examine the issues and potentially make suggestions as to how the response can be improved.

One if its members, Coun David Clark, deployed shutters at his home in Wansbeck Street and for a neighbour who was abroad at the time.

The street does not have a flood wall next to the river as the Environment Agency said it would have been too expensive, so it provided these residents with the property-level protection.

Coun Clark said: “The dam worked as designed and I called Anthony Myatt, who was project manager for the Morpeth Flood Alleviation Scheme, to personally thank him and the agency.

“But I was disappointed that there was no knock on the door and no presence of someone in a hi-viz jacket in our street.

“We will now help the relevant organisations to debrief and strategise for the future.”